I packed poorly.
I have ended up in Africa with a total of 13 tops, 2 dresses, no shorts and two skirts. How I managed to cram all of this into a 44L knapsack is baffling. Might I add, the two skirts end above the knee, making them entirely inappropriate attire for this deeply conservative country.
I also have no pants. Actually, that’s a lie.
I brought three pairs of pants. Kinda.
I purchased a pair of khaki capris at Old Navy, the day before I flew, and packed them without first trying them on. They’re too small. Too tight around my roly poly.
The other pair... my colourful pajama bottoms and perhaps not entirely suitable for a city stroll.
... and last but not least...
3. Covered with vomit...
A real toss-up, if you ask me. Everyone’s a loser in this scenario, including myself. Over 30 countries under my belt, and this is how I continue to roll. I’ve even written an article on how to pack.
I cannot pack.
Well, I can… just not properly, responsibly or realistically.
What does one do?
Well... I head out into Dar es Salaam with my pajama pants on. The design could be somewhat construed as African fashion… and they’re very lightweight. This was the speech I played over in my head, in order to convince myself that I was stylish... and not just odd & frumpy.
It doesn't matter how many times I visit a third world country, I am never quite prepared for the amount of harrassement and/or attention I am actually going to get. Pajama bottoms or not. Dar es Salaam is no exception to the rule
Do you want come in my shop? You come back tomorrow buy?
Where you stay? I come get you.
Do you buy banana? Do you buy egg?
Ma'am, you buy this now! You have many money?
You take plant home to country?
Come my restaurant? Come sit my restaurant!
But NO never really seems to cut it.
No. No. No.
No, thank you.
Over and over again.
Learning Swahili for NO immediately... Hapana.
I don't have a cent to my name right now, so unless it's photo worthy or can be purchased on Mastercard or Visa, I have to keep these pajama pants walking.
I actually have stuff to do! A very, very important TO-DO list... and getting it done is imperative.
~ Must find a bank machine.
~ Must get Tanzanian SIM card for phone.
~ Must get cash to pay annoying Pizzazzio taxi driver, who is actually the reason behind this silly list!
It's a lot of “musts” for someone who has decided to completely evade responsibility.
When I’m new to an area, unsure of my surroundings and completely cut off from the language, I really do put forth my best effort to radiate confidence. The courage was a little bit more difficult to maintain, considering my bedtime attire, but I still gave it my all. I am determined to always look like I know exactly where I'm going and exactly what I'm doing, though most of the time, admittedly, I am watching Google Maps for the little blue navigational dot to lead me in the proper direction. People have stared at me, probably wondering where I got my cool jammies, but as soon as eye contact is made, smiles usually appear and 90% of the time, they have said hello.
There was one particularly scrawny little guy, who kept near me on both the road and the beach. He had a bad vibe, so I deeked into a wee beach cafe for a lemonade, some solitude and some peace of mind. Sipping on my dreadful mint & ginger lemonade smoothie, I had the honour of watching a multitude of musicians rotating the room, each of them hitting up the next table with their one little ditty. They did approach me, but quickly retreated when they discovered I was cash poor. At one point, I did offer them my unopened bottle of water, but I had no takers.
Thank goodness... it was hot out and I needed that water.
One of the performers obviously had a very limited grasp of the English language, and his entire song consisted of, “I love you Mommy. I love you Daddy. I love you Uncle. I love you Grandfather...” Crooning along to the dramatic strumming of his own guitar, the song went on & on until he’d completely exhausted either family members or words he knew. He would then collect his tip and move along to the next table, and there, this amorous tribute would begin again.
I was desperate to film him, but as I didn't have anything for a gratuity, I thought it might be horrendously offensive to assume I could record the hit.
After the brief beachside concert, I could not get back to the hotel fast enough. Jag lag had found me and smacked me in the face. I had to sleep immediately….
I slept from about 3:30pm until midnight and then I was up like Lionel Ritchie, all night long. After an early morning shower, I spent a LOT of time agonizing over what I was going to wear for the day. Having worn my pjs the day before, and the teeny tiny’s too tight, I made the executive decision to cut the bottom of my black pants off into a capri style... and wear those again.
Right now, you may be thinking…
“Aren’t those the pants that you wore on the plane for over 24 hours?”
“Aren’t those the pants that you got vomit all over?”
BUT… if the plan were to Capri them, that would remove the majority of the vomitrous area... right?
Unfortunately I hadn’t packed a pair of scissors, so my cunning (and utterly disgusting) plan was kiboshed before it could really get off the ground.
I squeezed myself into the tighties and off I went...
It was awful.
Nothing screams LOSE WEIGHT like hot and humid conditions. Here is my list of the worst things imaginable, and right now, unfortunately, I manage to fit into each category.
Hot and humid meets overweight ✔️
Hot and humid meets overweight AND pre-menopausal hot flashes ✔️
Hot and humid meets overweight and pre-menopausal hot flashes AND conservative clothing ✔️
Hot and humid meets overweight and pre-menopausal hot flashes AND too tight around the waist, conservative clothing ✔️
Life is tough, but I shall endeavour to carry on, to the best of my ability.
Please... send pants...